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A depleted Union shock the Portland Timbers in 3-1 win

Julian Carranza scored a brace to help the Philadelphia Union win their first game of the MLS season.

The Union travelled to Portland with a depleted matchday squad because of the international break. Oliver Semmle started in goal, while Jeremy Rafanello and Markus Anderson were handed starts. Jim Curtin could only name five substitutes, with all the players lacking MLS experience. Matt Real and Chris Donovan were the two most experienced players on the bench.

Portland came close to taking the lead in the tenth minute. Jonathan Rodríguez got in behind the Union defense on the right wing before sending a cross into the six-yard box. Semmle could only push it as far as Evander, who completely mishit his shot, sending it wide of the post. 

Evander had another great opportunity as the Timbers started to take control of the game. Santiago Moreno went on a mazy run into the penalty area before playing the ball to Evander, who shot. His effort took a slight touch off Jakob Glesnes before Semmle pushed it around the post.

The pressure continued when the hosts came close to taking the lead twice in a matter of minutes. Rodríguez continued to cause problems when his shot inside the box hit the post. The ball went out for a corner, which almost found the back of the net when a ball sent goalward was cleared off the line. The second ball came to Juan Mosquera, who cleared the crossbar.

Despite all of Portland's domination, it was the Philadelphia Union that scored the first goal of the game in the 28th minute. Kai Wagner curled a corner from the right into the penalty area, finding the head of Julian Carranza, who perfectly guided his header over the Portland defender on the line and into the back of the net.

That lead lasted nearly a couple of minutes as the Union were once again let off the hook. Mosquera got into the Philadelphia penalty area before shooting from a tight angle. Semmle made the save, but the rebound nearly fell to a Portland player, who could not locate the ball before the Union cleared their lines. 

Mikael Uhre should have made it two for Philadelphia on 35 minutes. The ball was played through for the striker, who was one-on-one with James Pantemis. However, the goalkeeper came well off his line, saving the shot with his face before Portland dealt with the rebound. 

Portland came close to scoring twice at the end of first-half stoppage time. The first came when Evander's low-driven shot from the edge of the penalty area was pushed behind for a corner. From the resulting set piece, it seemed the hosts were going to get back onto level terms. Dario Župarić beat Semmle to the ball, flicking his header to the back post, which somehow evaded the two Portland players waiting before it skipped out of play for a goal kick.

HALF-TIME: Portland Timbers 0-1 Philadelphia Union

Uhre had another great chance seven minutes into the second half. He received the ball down the left, using his pace to carry the ball into the penalty area. Uhre found himself bearing down on goal but was once again denied by Pantemis, who saved the dinked effort. 

The Union were not to be denied a second in the 57th minute. Rafanello had the ball 25 yards from the goal and opted to shoot. His effort was palmed away by Pantemis, as far as Quinn Sullivan, who slotted the rebound into the back of the net.

Carranza had his second ten minutes later, thanks to quick thinking by Glesnes. The central defender took a quick free-kick, sending the ball down the right channel for Uhre to get on the end of. The Dane spotted an unmarked Carranza inside the penalty area and delivered a low cross towards his strike partner. The Argentinian remained cool, slotting the ball into the back of the net with a first-time shot. 

The visitors continued their search of scoring more goals after a nice build-up saw the ball fall to Uhre inside the penalty area. Unfortunately, his prodded shot towards the goal cleared the crossbar.

With ten minutes remaining, Rodríguez pulled a goal back for Portland. Moreno crossed from the right towards the back post, where Rodríguez was on hand to thump a header past Semmle. 

Carranza had the ball in the back of the net shortly afterwards. However, it was ruled out for offside. Anderson flicked the ball into the path of the Argentinian striker, who thumped a close-range shot beyond Pantemis before the linesman raised his flag for the offside call. 

Portland tried to fight their way back into the fixture, but the Philadelphia Union remained strong at the back, ensuring that Rodríguez's goal would only be a consolation as they came away with a crucial win. 

FULL-TIME: Portland Timbers 1-3 Philadelphia Union

Portland Timbers: Pantemis, Mosquera (Asprilla 75'), Župarić, McGraw, Miller (Ayala 65'), Williamson (Paredes 75'), Chará (Mora 65'), Antony (Fogaça 90+7'), Evander, Moreno, Rodríguez

Unused Substitutes: Sulte , Mabiala

Philadelphia Union: Semmle, Mbaizo, Elliott, Glesnes, Wagner, Bedoya, Rafanello, Sullivan, Anderson (Donovan 84'), Uhre, Carranza

Unused Substitutes: Rick, Real, Makhanya, Ngabo


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